Notwithstanding Obama's consistent support for Israel, Rove suggests that as president, Obama may withdraw funding for Israel

››› ››› BRIAN LEVY

On Fox News Sunday, in discussing Sen. Barack Obama's statement that money being spent on the war in Iraq "is money that we could be spending here in the United States, rebuilding our infrastructure, building schools, sending kids to university," Karl Rove quoted a "Democrat" he said he had spoken to in Los Angeles as saying, "I'm worried about that, because does that mean he's going to be looking at our support, for example, for the state of Israel and looking at it in terms of what could we be doing at home with those dollars?" However, Obama has consistently supported aid to Israel.

On the March 2 edition of Fox News Sunday, following a clip of Sen. Barack Obama stating of the money being spent on the war in Iraq, "That is money that we could be spending here in the United States, rebuilding our infrastructure, building schools, sending kids to university," Fox News contributor Karl Rove said, "I'm not certain over an eight-month general election that you can make the argument that we ought to take a look at every foreign policy commitment in the United States and measure it on the basis of the number of dollars that we've got there." He then added, "I happened to be in Los Angeles on Monday, and somebody had heard Obama say this to me [sic], and they were Democrat, and at dinner they said, 'I'm worried about that, because does that mean he's going to be looking at our support, for example, for the state of Israel and looking at it in terms of what could we be doing at home with those dollars?' " However, contrary to Rove's suggestion that Obama may be "looking at our support, for example, for the state of Israel and looking at it in terms of what could we be doing at home with those dollars," Obama has consistently supported aid to Israel:

  • On November 10, 2005, Obama voted in favor of the conference report for the bill making appropriations for the State Department, including more than $2.2 billion in military aid to Israel.
  • On February 14, 2007, Obama voted in favor of a continuing resolution that included more than $2.3 billion in military aid to Israel.
  • On March 2, 2007, Obama told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC): "At the same time, we must preserve our total commitment to our unique defense relationship with Israel by fully funding military assistance and continuing work on the Arrow and related missile defense programs. This would help Israel maintain its military edge and deter and repel attacks from as far as Tehran and as close as Gaza."
  • On August 16, 2007, Obama issued a press release supporting the provision of $30 billion in military aid to Israel.
  • Obama's presidential campaign's position paper on Israel says, "Barack Obama has consistently supported foreign assistance to Israel. He defends and supports the annual foreign aid package that involves both military and economic assistance to Israel and has advocated increased foreign aid budgets to ensure that these funding priorities are met. Additionally, he has called for sustaining the unique U.S.-Israel defense relationship by fully funding military assistance and continuing cooperative work on missile defense programs, such as the Arrow."
  • In a January 29 fact sheet, the National Jewish Democratic Council stated that Obama "has voted multiple times in favor of foreign aid and is a leader in pushing for divestment from Iran."
  • An article of the March 3 issue of Newsweek reported: "Almost unanimously, American Jewish leaders say Obama's voting record and public pronouncements paint him squarely as an Israel supporter. 'Senators Clinton, Obama, McCain and Governor Huckabee have demonstrated their support for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship,' AIPAC president Howard Friedman wrote to NEWSWEEK. (AIPAC says all three senators have strong congressional voting records on issues important to the U.S.-Israel relationship.)"

Earlier in the segment, also in reference to Obama's comments, Rove stated, "Well, Obama -- it's a good argument for Obama, but I'm -- I'm wondering where it goes, because it really is a very neo-isolationist argument. It basically says, you know, 'We should not be involved in the world because of the consequences to the budget here at home.' " Obama has called for an increase in diplomacy and called for the use of "the full arsenal of American power and ingenuity":

In order to advance our national security and our common security, we must call on the full arsenal of American power and ingenuity. To constrain rogue nations, we must use effective diplomacy and muscular alliances. To penetrate terrorist networks, we need a nimble intelligence community -- with strong leadership that forces agencies to share information, and invests in the tools, technologies, and human intelligence that can get the job done. To maintain our influence in the world economy, we need to get our fiscal house in order. And to weaken the hand of hostile dictators, we must free ourselves from our oil addiction. None of these expressions of power can supplant the need for a strong military. Instead, they complement our military, and help ensure that the use of force is not our sole available option.

Additionally, as Media Matters for America noted, later on Fox News Sunday, while discussing questions Obama has faced about Nation of Islam founder Louis Farrakhan, Rove asserted: "Now, having ties to Louis Farrakhan and his anti-Semitic comments, that's -- that's -- you know, people have a reason -- that's a reasonable question: Do you agree with him? Do you renounce him? Do you reject him?" However, neither Rove nor host Chris Wallace noted that Obama has denied that his campaign has "ties to" Farrakhan or that he has answered the questions posed by Rove, having repeatedly and consistently denounced Farrakhan's anti-Semitic statements.

From the March 2 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday:

WALLACE: All right, but Obama has found a clever way to link the war in Iraq to our domestic problems with the economy here at home. Let's watch.

OBAMA [video clip]: We are spending $12 billion per month. That is money that we could be spending here in the United States, rebuilding our infrastructure, building schools, sending kids to university.

WALLACE: If he's able to define Iraq in terms of where do you spend that $12 billion, on the battlefield over there or on infrastructure and social programs here, doesn't Obama win?

ROVE: Well, Obama -- it's a good argument for Obama, but I'm -- I'm wondering where it goes, because it really is a very neo-isolationist argument. It basically says, you know, "We should not be involved in the world because of the consequences to the budget here at home."

Well, we were not involved in the world before 9-11, and look what happened. Look at the cost to the American economy after a terrorist attack on the homeland. We lost a -- we lost a million jobs in 90 days after 9-11.

If we were to give up Iraq, with the third-largest oil reserves in the world, to the control of an Al Qaeda regime or to the control of Iran, don't you think $200-a-barrel oil would have a cost to the American economy?

So you know, it's a cute thing in a primary. I'm not certain over an eight-month general election that you can make the argument that we ought to take a look at every foreign policy commitment in the United States and measure it on the basis of the number of dollars that we've got there.

I happened to be in Los Angeles on Monday, and somebody had heard Obama say this to me, and they were Democrat, and at dinner they said, "I'm worried about that, because does that mean he's going to be looking at our support, for example, for the state of Israel and looking at it in terms of what could we be doing at home with those dollars?"

And it was a nice line, but I'm not certain how durable a line it necessarily is.

WALLACE: All right. What about the economy itself? I mean, the -- the -- the sort of cliche is people vote for peace and prosperity. [Sen. John] McCain is defending an unpopular war. As for the economy, let's take a look at a recent poll which shows that 66 percent, two-thirds, of Americans think the country already is in a recession.

How does McCain counter Obama -- not only on the war, but now also on a Republican economy?

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, International Aid
Network/Outlet
FOX Broadcasting Company
Person
Karl Rove
Show/Publication
FOX News Sunday
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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